Dailies 2/18/17: good hours, the idea of living, the poetry-body, & it’s midnight & people I love are dying



The Idea of Living – Joyce Sutphen

It has its attractions,
chiefly visual: all those

shapes and lines, hunks
of color and light (the way

Read rest of poem 



Midnight, and people I love are dying,  – Robin Chapman

and I can’t sleep so I’m up thinking
too hard scribbling these words in the dark
because the physics science news I read
before bed is making me crazy now
with incomprehension—it makes
no sense to me that gravity should exist,
what I know about is love:

Read rest of poem 


The Poetry-Body – Joseph Millar

for K. D.

The youngest won’t fall asleep
though he keeps resting his head on the table
next to his empty plate.
These are the jewels of his
half-open eyes bewitched by the pale
blossoming spines of the centerpiece flowers
no one remembers the names of—
these are the sparks flying up
from the fire and the night
pressing in on the windows.

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Good Hours – Robert Frost

I had for my winter evening walk—
No one at all with whom to talk,
But I had the cottages in a row
Up to their shining eyes in snow.

Read rest of poem 

Dailies 1/8/16 the damn angel doesn’t want a highball, the Baron is interested in dirigibles but not balloons, Jane Kenyon takes down a Christmas tree, & Marianne Moore doesn’t like poetry



Taking Down the Tree – Jane Kenyon

“Give me some light!” cries Hamlet’s
uncle midway through the murder
of Gonzago. “Light! Light!” cry scattering
courtesans. Here, as in Denmark,
it’s dark at four, and even the moon
shines with only half a heart.

Read rest of poem 


Predelictions – Claire Bateman


The Baron is interested in dirigibles but not balloons;

The Barnoness in infants, not toddlers;

Read rest of poem 


The Damn Angel Doesn’t Want a Highball – Dan Ivec


I’m here to be cruel

regretted the heaven official

Read rest of poem


Poetry – Marianne Moore 

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond
all this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
discovers that there is in
it after all, a place for the genuine.

Read rest of poem 


Dailies 12/11/16: the President, the sea, Limbo, and an alternative to writing poetry




The Poet’s Occasional Alternative – Grace Paley

I was going to write a poem
I made a pie instead      it took
about the same amount of time

Read rest of poem 


Letter from Limbo – Jeanne Marie Beaumont


You ask what glories we have access to, being
“excluded from the beatific vision” as defined.

Best is the firmament—barred from heaven
but not the heavens, which open for us

Read rest of poem 


The President of People Fooling Themselves – Jen Karetnick


Forcing a bow tie on a bankrupt foundation,

he made to armor the Art Deco dawn

Read rest of poem 


Sea-Heroes – H.D. 

Crash on crash of the sea,
straining to wreck men; sea-boards, continents,

Read rest of poem 


poetry and hiking


At Backpacker, Nick Davidson has a good short essay called  Reciting Poetry on the Trail: You don’t need to be an English major to make poetry part of your next hike.  He writes of how “poetry, spoken in the firelight and woven with the rippling river and yips of coyotes, felt primal and ancient. We’d tapped into that timeworn, disused tradition of oral storytelling surrounded by the stars and scrublands.”

“But how to remember enough lines for a three-hour hike? Turns out being in the wilderness is a powerful memorization tool. Being in nature, studies show, enhances memory because it doesn’t divide our attention in the same way as urban distractions like car horns and oncoming traffic. All I needed was to choose any hike and transform it into a ‘memory palace’ by mentally pairing lines and verses with vivid spots along the way. I didn’t even need to be on the path to make this memorization technique work—as long as I’d hiked it before, I could recall the scenery. Through visualization, I’d set the action of a given line in one of those memorable spots. Imagery locked in, poem and hike became one.”

Read more 

The New Yorker says the new Emily Dickinson movie will “take its place as…one of the great movies of the time”

“A Quiet Passion” is one of the rare movies about a writer that convey the sense that the character, as depicted, is capable of artistic creation at a world-historical height of achievement. Norman Mailer said that the one character that novelists can’t successfully create is that of a novelist better than themselves. Similarly, no filmmaker can make a movie that’s as good as a good novel or story or play unless that filmmaker is an artist at the same level as the writer; no filmmaker can create a convincing portrait of an artist without being an artist of comparable imagination. Davies has been, for thirty years, among the world’s best filmmakers, certainly not as concealed or unheralded in his time as Dickinson was in hers, but not nearly receiving the acclaim or the support that he has deserved. “A Quiet Passion” will take its place as one of his finest creations, as one of the great movies of the time.

-Richard Brody, A Masterly Emily Dickinson Movie, The New Yorker, February 22, 2016 

Cheryl Clarke’s “Of Althea and Flaxie”



Cheryl Clarke

In 1943 Althea was a welder
very dark
very butch
and very proud
loved to cook, sew, and drive a car
and did not care who knew she kept company with a woman
who met her every day after work
in a tight dress and high heels
light-skinned and high-cheekboned
who loved to shoot, fish, play poker
and did not give a damn who knew her ‘man’ was a woman.

Read rest of poem at The Wrong Bathroom


President Warren G. Harding wrote dirty poetry


Mm. I just found a story about  “9 Poems Penned by Presidents” at Mental Floss.  It includes this bit:

“By most accounts, Warren G. Harding was not a great president. But he was an excellent author of dirty poetry and letters, which he sent to his mistress, Carrie Phillips:

I love your back, I love your breasts
Darling to feel, where my face rests,
I love your skin, so soft and white,
So dear to feel and sweet to bite….
I love your poise of perfect thighs,
When they hold me in paradise….

Right.  Also, at the Poetry Foundation, there’s a list of 12 presidents and the poets who inspired them, such as Barack Obama and Elizabeth Alexander.  A 2012 article but still good. presidents-obama-alexander.jpg


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